The Atlantic RURAL Centre is committed to the following research themes:
Social and Economic Equity
Research in changing populations includes topics such as special rural populations (e.g. rural youth and older adults, First Nations people, immigrants.). Research themes include access to primary health care, disease and injury prevention, contextual examination of health challenges (e.g. methods of health resource allocation and cultural issues of care, and social isolation.
In addition, community resiliency is a topic of special interest. The Atlantic RURAL Centre will build on current research on communities that, despite the presence of risk factors, nonetheless have favourable outcomes. Studies are needed to understand the role of social capital, social and economic changes, and other issues in order to determine how these impact community resiliency (both positively and negatively), as well as examining linkages between resiliency and physical and/or mental health status.
Rural areas of Atlantic Canada are disproportionally reliant on primary industries such as forestry, mining, agriculture, and fishing for employment The Atlantic RURAL Centre looks at both the direct effects of living and working in rural areas (e.g. occupational risks and exposures), as well as the indirect effects of living in resource reliant communities (e.g. fluctuating economies, changes in service infrastructure and access, demographic mobility, and life course issues).
Furthermore the Centre supports research on new questions and technological approaches to work issues in rural Atlantic Canada. We will seek to examine previously identified hazards within a social context in order to understand policy implications and to develop appropriate prevention or mitigation initiatives (e.g. contamination and remediation of groundwater supplies, repetitive strain injuries associated with fish plant packing, agricultural safety and health, the effects of climate change).
Air & Water Quality
Issues such as air pollution and chemical and biological contamination of drinking water sources in rural areas are growing concerns. The RURAL Centre is enhancing its capacity to investigate these issues through the building of collaborative teams and through the creation of an environmental health lab located at Dalhousie University.
This lab has state of the art equipment for monitoring and analyzing samples for a wide variety of contaminants and will serve as a foundation for enhancing environmental health research capacity throughout the Centre.